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Full text of "NightRider"

'55

different from what he had expected. He had expected, in
so far as he had consciously expected any definite thing,
to find people here, men lounging about waiting, their
pipes in their mouths, perhaps, talking in low voices as on
some country occasion, such as evening services at a cross-
road church. But there was nothing here. Absolute stillness,
except for the sound of water on the stones, and no move-
ment in the lighter space, where the fallen rail fence was.
Then he heard the short whinny of a horse. Well, he said
to himself, and lifted his rein, and his mount moved slowly
forward into the open, up the road beside the old fence, and
then up the fork toward the mill. Some men were standing
in the shadow by the loading platform, he discovered when
he was almost upon them. He could only make out the
whitish blur of their faces.

" Good evening, gentlemen," he said.

The men replied nothing.

He rode on past them, and tethered his mare to a sapling,
They were looking at me all the time I rode across that light
place, he thought. He walked back toward them, and took
his place, leaning against the loading platform. The men
were not in a group, he found, and they were not talking to
each other. They were cut off from each other, as it were,
each one drawn in upon himself; and yet they were so close
that each man could have reached out to touch a neighbour.

" Good evening/' the man nearest him said in a low voice.

" Good evening," Mr. Munn replied.

Not another word was spoken, until someone came out on
the loading platform from the interior of the mill and in a
low voice pronounced the name Jim Talbot. Then the man
on the platform asked, more sharply now, "Is Jim Talbot
here?"

One of the men on the ground vaulted clumsily on to the
platform, and said, " Fm Jim Talbot."

"Come on in," the other man directed, and disappeared
into the interior of the mill. No light could be seen from the
inside. The man named Talbot took a step forward, paused